Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Get On The Good Foot (Pts. 1 & 2)" by James Brown

During his storied career, James Brown had a slew of nicknames, and one of his less-familiar sobriquets was “The Minister of New Super Heavy Funk. ”And on this insanely funky, super-energized groove, the moniker fits like a glove. The track is impeccably arranged and amazingly syncopated. Not a drop of funk is wasted here. It kicks off with Brown’s proclamation, “Can’t pass the people, can’t pass the, hit me!”  Like on Brown’s best tracks, this groove flows like a well-oiled funk engine.

The monster groove is anchored by the ace rhythm section of Fred Thomas (bass) and John “Jabo” Starks (drums). Thomas contributes a smooth, fluid bass line, while Jabo keeps on the groove on-point with his funky, rapid-fire drumming. Longtime J.B. members Hearlon “Cheese” Martin and Bobby Roach hold down the guitar parts with their usual funky flair. And it addition to his powerful vocals, Brown gets funky on the organ near the end of the song. Moreover, the track has a badass bass/drum breakdown.

The track boasts some sterling horn work that further accentuates the funk. The lineup for the horn section on this hot cut was the following: Fred Wesley (trombone), St-Clair Pinckney (tenor saxophone), Isiah Ike Oakley (trumpet) and Russell Crimes (trumpet).

The song’s main theme is about taking care of your business and endeavoring to keep your life in a positive direction (on the “good foot”).  And it has a secondary theme of racial unity and how music can bring people from different backgrounds together: “Said the long-hair hippies and the Afro blacks/ They all get together across the tracks/and they party.”

“Get On The Good Foot” was written by Brown, Fred Wesley and Joseph Mims and was released in 1972 as part of a two-part single. Brown also produced the track, which topped the R&B charts in the U.S. and peaked at #18 on the U.S. pop charts. It was also the title track for the Godfather's 1972 album.

“Get On The Good Foot” has been sampled by a ton of hip-hop artists, including OutKast (“B.O.B.”), Big Daddy Kane (“Raw”), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (“Gold”) and Kool Moe Dee (“Gansta Boogie”). In all, it has been sampled in 173 songs, according to the website WhoSampled.

Get On The Good Foot (Pt. 1 & 2) at Amazon

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